Published: October 19, 2004
Asian sales at Christie’s New York totaled $23,438,661 following auctions conducted on September 21-23 at Rockefeller Center.
The September 21 sale of Chinese art totaled $11,167,991. A strong feature in the sale was the group of archaic bronzes that performed extraordinarily well with the cover lot, the you, fetching $1,071,500. The furniture section contributed to top-level prices with a zitan three-railing bed setting a world auction record for a Chinese bed at $847,500.
The series of Asian art sales continued on September 22 with Japanese and Korean Art, offering a rare early Seventeenth Century pair of Japanese screens and a Korean hanging scroll of the Choson period. The sale totaled $4,226,819 and saw the strongest performance in the Japanese field in New York since 2000, according to Christie’s. The sale was led by the spectacular and rare early Seventeenth Century pair of screens, which realized $589,900.
Katsura Yamaguchi, head of the Japanese and Korean art department, said, “The rarity of the screens combined with the fact that it was an original pair, made this lot hotly contested and the final price of $589,900 easily doubled its presale estimate.”
The appearance of an intriguing single-owner collection of Noh robes and masks, the first one ever to appear at auction, was much appreciated by the audience, and the group totaled just over $400,000. The Korean session was highlighted by a hanging scroll depicting the Water Moon Avalokitesvara at $343,500.
Rounding out the top five lots in the sale of fine Chinese furniture, archaic bronzes and works of art were: a bronze owl-form covered vessel, xiaoyou, Shang dynasty, Twelfth-Eleventh Century, $511,500; a bronze ritual tripod food vessel, ding, Western Zhou dynasty, 10th Century BC, $511,500; and a large, well-painted doucai moon flask, Qianlong seal mark in underglaze blue Asian art and of the period (1736-1795), $489,100.
Besides the screens and hanging scroll, top highlights of the Japanese and Korean art sale included: Iwasa Matabei (1578-1650), Thirty-six Immortal Poets and their Poems, 36 paintings and poems mounted as an accordion album, $365,900; Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), “Standing Courtesan,” hanging scroll, $197,900; and Sakai Hoitsu (1761-1829), “Standing Courtesan,” hanging scroll, $107,550.
“Carefully composed with a strong focus on superb provenance and top quality,” he continued, “the sale attracted an international audience of collectors fully honoring the rarity and quality of the pieces and competing for them passionately. Across the board, the sale achieved spectacular results, a trend that continued in the afternoon when the section of Twentieth Century Indian paintings realized nearly $2.5 million, the highest in the contemporary Indian field, setting world auction records for Sabavala, Raza and Swaminathan.”
A parcel gilt and polychromed gray schist figure of the Teaching Buddha sold for $601,100. Other top highlights were: a sandstone figure of a celestial woman beneath a flowering branch, India, Madhya Pradesh, late Tenth/ early Eleventh Century, $477,900; a bronze figure of a Jina, South India, Chola period, Tenth Century, $231,500; a bronze figure of Parvati, South India, Vijayanagar period, Fourteenth Century, $220,300; and Syed Haider Raza (born 1922), “Rajputana,” acrylic on canvas, $220,300 (world auction record for the artist).
Prices reported include buyer’s premium.
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